Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa has declared that the predominance of conventional universities in Nigeria to the detriment of specialized universities is largely responsible for the current unemployment challenge confronting the Nigerian economy.
Receiving the Management of the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Governing Council of the Nigeria Maritime University (NMU) during a courtesy visit in Asaba, Governor Okowa stated that specialized universities would provide the right tools to equip graduates with requisite technical abilities that would make them create employment after completing their studies.
“Nigeria should move beyond conventional universities and seek to establish specialized universities which will give the right tools and practical learning that will make graduates employers of labour, rather than job seekers. The unemployment in Nigeria today is largely due to our focus on conventional education” He stated.
While Commending the Management of NIMASA for the vision in establishing the University, Governor Okowa urged other Agencies of Government to think outside the box, and toe the line of NIMASA.
The Director General of NIMASA Dr Ziakede Patrick Akpobolokemi noted that the Agency conceived the university concept to guarantee sustainable international training of qualified manpower for the maritime industry. He said that the dearth of qualified manpower in the Nigerian maritime sector was the driving force behind the University project.
On her part, the Pro Chancellor, Professor Mrs viola Onwuliri, noted that the University would play a major role in effectively growing adequate capacity to harness the Nigerian maritime potentials.
Mrs Onwuliri, who is the immediate past Minister of State for Education, announced that the Governing Council was consulting with the Nigeria Universities Commission and Joint Admission and Matriculation Board, JAMB, to ensure that academic activities commence during the next academic session.
The Federal Government recently approved a Governing Council for the institution, headed by Professor (Mrs) Viola Onwuliri. Professor (Mrs.) Maureen Etebu was also appointed as Vice Chancellor while Mr. Anho Nathaniel Lucky is the Registrar.
The Nigeria Maritime University Okerenkoko, is considered a long term solution to the dearth of Seafarers, which has seen NIMASA sponsor over 2,500 young Nigerians for training in Nautical Science, Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering at degree level in reputable institutions in Egypt, India, Philippines, Romania and the United Kingdom under the Nigerian Seafarers Development Programme (NSDP)
The Agency has also established Institutes of Maritime Studies in six (6) Nigerian universities namely; University of Lagos, University of Nigeria Nsukka, Niger Delta University Amasoma, Bayelsa State, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University Lapai, Niger State, Anambra State University Uli and the Federal University Kashere, Gombe State.